W42ST issue 20 - Hell's Kitchen - welcome to the family

Page 64



Metro Baptist Church, W40th St - 9th/10th Ave (1985)


n 1985, Hell’s Kitchen was not exactly a neighborhood that could be considered presidential. But in the July of that year, just four years after he had left The White House, former US president Jimmy Carter arrived on W40th St, not for a state dinner or high-powered negotiations, but to sleep on the floor of a church. He and his wife Rosalynn spent a week in total staying at Metro Baptist Church during the launch of Habitat for Humanity, an organization dedicated to building low-cost housing for the poor. The Carters traveled with 36 friends from Georgia to help repair an 80-yearold, six-story brick building on East 6th Street. “It was 3:30 on Sunday afternoon


“He and Rosalynn had been offered a private room, but they turned it over to a newly married couple.” when the bedraggled group arrived at the Metro Baptist Church in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen, a seedy neighborhood just south of Times Square,” reported The People at the time. “Dressed in shirt-sleeves, khaki pants and Topsiders, Carter hoisted his bags up four flights of stairs to a sparsely furnished dormitory in the


Above: Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter with Metro pastor Gene Bolin.

men’s quarters, where he and four others spread out over three double bunks. “He and Rosalynn had been offered a private room, but they turned it over to a newly married couple. ‘This looks just fine,’ the former President of the United States said with a grin as he swung his suitcase onto an upper bunk.” True to that original vision, Rauschenbusch Metro Ministries, which has its home at Metro Baptist Church, has just launched its 12 In 21 campaign to raise $12,000 in 21 days. The money will go towards its work with the most vulnerable in New York City: after-school groups, teen centers, the Hell’s Kitchen Farm Project, life empowerment classes and more. www.12in21forrmm.causevox.com